Petrobras just placed a $2.1 billion price tag on its corruption scandal

A cloudy forecast for Petrobras.
A cloudy forecast for Petrobras.
Image: AP Photo/Leo Correa
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Petrobras says an enormous corruption scandal has cost it R$6.2 billion ($2.1 billion). The disclosure—part of an earnings report that had been delayed 159 days after auditors refused to sign off on Petrobras’ financial statements—marks the first time Brazil’s state-controlled oil giant has placed a price tag on the alleged bribery payments.

The scandal, which allegedly involved suppliers overcharging Petrobras for contracts and then passing on some of the illegal gains to former executives and politicians, is still under investigation. It has torpedoed the company’s stock price and seen it all but shut out of bond markets. No word on just how many of Petrobras’ billions were smuggled out in compression stockings and Saran Wrap.

The company  also wrote down the value of assets on its balance sheet by R$44.6 billion, leading to a net loss of R$21.6 billion for 2014. Folha de São Paulo reports that this is Petrobras’ first annual loss since 1991. Total debt rose to R$351 billion.

The investigation has forced out Petrobras’ CEO and reached deep into president Dilma Rousseff’s ruling party and continues to unfold. The company’s former director of refining and supply, Paulo Roberto Costa, was convicted today of money laundering and racketeering. Alberto Youssef, whose arrest set the investigation into motion, was also convicted for money laundering.